Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Monday, March 30, 2020

More reports from around the virus-laden globe

A photoshopped image of past Veterans For Peace vigil in Asheville, NC makes a timely point. (Photoshop work by Brandon Jones)

By Ken Jones (Asheville, North Carolina)

Here in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, things have gotten very quiet. The normal hustle and bustle of this tourist town is gone, the streets are all but empty, the shops are closed (except for carry out or curbside delivery from restaurants). Even though it means that many people are out of work and small businesses may go down for the count, there is certain air of comfortable calm that stands in contrast to the non-stop anxiety fostered by the media.

This is partly because the virus has not hit our somewhat remote area very hard, at least not yet. A friend of ours who is a nurse assigned to a dedicated COVID19 unit, says most people coming in for tests are still waiting for the results and that the hospital where she works is just now organizing to deal with what might be coming. She says the estimate is that the North Carolina peak is expected to come in May, which is (in coronavirus time), a long time away.

My daughter, on the other hand, is dealing with stress here and now. She is a Montessori teacher and her school decided not to close, but to stay “open” and continue charging parents tuition. Teachers are now expected to come up with online learning for their students which somehow approximates the in-person schooling. “It’s impossible,” she says. “I’m developing the curriculum, running the program, and teaching my own kid concurrently.” She and her husband, who is still trying to keep his house building company going, are run ragged.

One of the most visible local responses to the crisis has come from BeLoved Asheville, a local community that has a solid history of caring for those most at risk: elders, African American and Latinx communities, families living on low incomes, workers, and people living on the streets. They have raised extra funds from us allies and are putting in long hours every day to provide survival supplies like food, hygiene, and medicine. They have a team of street medics, most of home have been homeless themselves, who walk the streets, checking in with people, and treating both physical and emotional needs. Amy Cantrell, one of the three core team members of BeLoved told me, “We believe in humanity and the beauty of our Earth home and we will continue to be here to share a vision of what a transformed, just, and loving world looks like on the other side of this crisis.” 

Of course, many of us are trying to stay connected through social media. Our local chapter of Veterans for Peace made the sensible decision to suspend our weekly public vigil in favor of cultivating more of an online presence. As a starter, we posted the photoshopped image of ourselves above, dressed in solidarity with health workers. We do what we can from our homes.

By J. Narayana Rao (Nagpur, India)

The entire state of Maharashtra including Nagpur is under lockdown. No buses and trains are moving. Schools and Colleges are closed. Govt Offices are officially not closed but no staff is attending. Till now on one is affected with Carona virus in Nagpur. Vegetable markets are not getting opened. Normal public life is not functioning. There is no problem for food not only in Nagpur but in the entire state of Maharashtra.


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